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Applying continuous modelling to consciousness

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Much of neuroscience is currently dominated by an information processing metaphor which is largely conceptualized in discrete terms. An alternative metaphor conceptualizes information flow as continuous. A qualitative set of hypotheses based on this metaphor, the energy model, is described here. This model considers information transfer in terms of the flow of an abstract variable, energy, between points in a field comprising the extent of the nervous system. Although extremely simple, it generates some intriguing consequences. In particular, it provides a useful way in which to look at consciousness. Traditional problems of consciousness, such as qualia and the unity of consciousness, are briefly addressed, and outlines are sketched of the answers given by the energy model.

Keywords: Consciousness; brain; energy; information; modelling; neural; prefrontal cortex

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Laboratory of Physiology, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PT, UK.

Publication date: February 1, 2001


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